Volunteers digging for fun at Redbraes. Greenspace helps make people healthier and happier and builds stronger, safer communities too.
You may have noticed that gardens are beginning to take up more space in Leith Open Space newsletters. Perhaps that’s not surprising. According to a recent survey by Greener Leith, more people want to use the space in Leith Links for gardens and childrens play areas than for football, golf or, indeed, any other sport. But will the opinions of local people count for anything with planners and developers?
It certainly won’t be for lack of action by Greener Leith. Their Leith Links Ask gathered the views of 550 local people between May and August this year with the help of YouTube videos, emails and an interactive website as well as old fashioned leaflets and face to face questions at Leith Festival.
The answers were very clear. Children’s play areas, gardens and a cafe pavilion were the three top choices for improving Leith Links. And a wildlife area and mini nature reserve was a close fourth, with football, rubgy, tennis, bowls and cricket attracting much less interest. Golf was a definite no! (See full results on Greener Leith website).
Exactly what impact that will have remains to be seen. At the last planning committee meeting Greener Leith had just two minutes to make the case for green space in the Forth Ports development plans. “We left somewhat frustrated,” says Alistair Tibbitt of Greener Leith in his latest blog.
But the campaign continues. And if the gardens in our newsletter are anything to go by there is plenty of grassroots support for green space in the Leith area (and throughout the city). As a new Greenspace Scotland research report shows, there is good reason for this too. Green spaces make us healthier and happier and create stronger and safer communities.
Redbraes, Persevere Garden, Dalmeny Park and, now, the poetry garden in St Andrew Square are very different spaces but they all have one thing in common: an active group of local people getting involved with their environment.